Colliers International Hotel Division

Specialty: Hospitality investment advisory services

Management: Doug Frye, CEO

Founded: 1985

Local offices: Seattle

Current projects: Disposition of the Rosario Resort and Spa for the current owner; hotel broker for Uwajimaya Village’s second phase; Issaquah Highlands hotel development site; 140-room boutique hotel for Opus Northwest on First Avenue between Pike and Pine streets; broker for 22-hotel portfolio in Washington, Oregon and Alaska

Image courtesy of Uwajimaya
Colliers International Hotel Division is working on the hotel portion of the second phase of Uwajimaya Village. The Publix Hotel, in the left background, would be renovated into 55 rooms and a new hotel, center, would be built with 145 rooms.

Seattle is set to open another 3,000 hotel rooms over the next 24 to 36 months, but Chris Burdett, senior vice president of Colliers International Hotel Division, said the large hotels in the works will be the last planned for a while.

That’s because developers are worried about overbuilding the market, which Burdett said is being taken into consideration, even though it won’t really be a concern for another two to three years.

“We don’t want too many rooms because we don’t want them empty. We have to resell a room every night,” he said. Overbuilding would lower costs of hotel rooms for clients, but would be bad for business because the owner’s price-point would not be reached, and it would negatively impact older hotel properties, Burdett said.

Cruise ship treasure

But for the past few years, the local hotel business has been phenomenal, Burdett said, with business up 20 percent from last year, and office vacancy rates dropping to single digits.

According to Burdett, the industry owes its recent success to the upsurge in local business, specifically the cruise industry, which has expanded annually over the last six years.

“It’s literally added a ton of business to the downtown core,” Burdett said, adding that after core hotels are filled, tourists move outside the city, bringing business to the region.

Hot market

But Burdett said the growth of business in general, from the Seattle convention center to Boeing to biotech firms, makes Seattle a desirable city, and in turn, brings more business people in to fill more hotel rooms.

This is evidenced in the major market players that have entered the hotel picture such as Pan Pacific, who Burdett said has realized that Seattle’s summer market is stable enough to keep rooms filled with tourists.

Burdett said the hotel business is cyclical, and the market will drop out in a few years, but right now, he’s not worried about it.

“You’ve got to hit the markets while they’re hot and they are right now,” he said.

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